Showing posts sorted by relevance for query new victoria theatre. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query new victoria theatre. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

The Red Shoes (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 4th February 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 

Originally a dark fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Red Shoes was adapted for the big screen by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in 1948. It follows a dance company as they tour the world; and the story of two men's obsession with Victoria Page, a dancer who longs to be a star and becomes possessed by her red ballet shoes.

With multiple locations, sometimes indistinguishable characters and intricate meta-narratives, The Red Shoes isn't the easiest of ballets to follow, but Matthew Bourne's production somehow provides a perfect introduction to the art form and takes you on a journey that you don't want to end, as the continuous flow and incredible emotion keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

What really elevates this show is the way the story forms a distinction between creating and performing art. We see the process of the dressers and choreographers bringing a vision to life in a structured and unified way; whilst, the performers are intensely frenzied and intense. These opposites come together to create a beautifully enchanting show. Just like the real world of theatre, what we see on stage is the graceful swan above the water, but what we miss is the underwater kicking of intense rehearsals, quick changes and personal drama. If anything, The Red Shoes is a fantastic reminder and celebration of the hard work, creativity and energy that goes into putting on a great piece of theatre.

Before the show even begins, magic is created thanks to Lez Brotherson's exceptional design. A luxe red curtain drapes the stage and reveals the varying worlds of The Red Shoes. From monochrome moments to full colour clubs and beaches, every moment feel luxurious and perfectly designed. The costumes are timely and tailored to perfection, with a divine attention to detail that is understated enough to be effective, but not in your face. When Victoria first dances in her red ballet shoes, she wears a flawless costume that highlights the red and welcomes her as a prima. During act two however, the mental and physical toils she faces are mirrored through the demise of her costume which is shredded and faded. These details are effective beyond belief and make this whole production feel superior.

Bourne's company are outstanding. Ashley Shaw is of course, technically wonderful as Victoria, but it's her steely drive and intensity to succeed that make her so enjoyable to watch; especially when contrasted so excellently against her compassion and vulnerability. As Victoria's lover/musician/muse, Harrison Dowzell is pure joy to watch. The way he flies around the stage, and shows his love for music with a genuine sense of revelry can't help but bring a smile to your face.

Victoria's dances with both men are incredibly striking and Reece Causton as Boris Lermontov is utterly shocking. His obsessive and sharp but quiet demeanour is terrifying to witness but completely absorbing.  This is a production where you often find yourself holding your breath as it rarely lets you escape from it's magical grip. The end of act one is one of the most spectacularly effective moments in theatre and really should be experienced.

The entire New Adventures company prove once again why they're so revered in this glorious looking and exceptionally assured production. The Red Shoes is a must see tale of passion, envy and tragedy.

The Red Shoes plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 8th March before continuing its tour

Wednesday 2 March 2022

The Osmonds, A New Musical (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

The Osmonds, A New Musical (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 1st March 2022 

It has been over 50 years since the wholesome, handsome brothers from Utah, The Osmonds, began their career. They started as a barbershop quartet, performing for locals whilst fundraising and eventually became one of the biggest bands ever, dominating the charts for weeks on end and earning the hearts of girls all over the world. In 2022 their story has been brought to stage in a production written by Jay Osmond himself.

The autobiographical tale begins with the boys-Donny (Joseph Peacock), Jay (Alex Lodge), Merrill (Ryan Anderson), Alan (Jamie Chatterton) and Wayne (Danny Nattrass)- growing up and starting their professional career on the Andy Williams (performed excellently by Alex Cardall) show right until their world domination and consequent fiftieth anniversary reunion. The musical looks at some of the mental challenges the group faced throughout their lives but is mostly a celebration of the music and the fans who loved (and still love) it.

Throughout the show, the audience are introduced to a fan from Manchester called Wendy through the letters which she writes to Jay. This cleverly captures how much celebrities can mean to people, specifically the impact and support The Osmond family unit provided to many. It also acknowledges how the fans and those who showed up for the band helped them get to, and stay at the top of the charts.

The whole cast give excellent performances, with the main Osmonds giving solid vocal and acting portrayals which shine on stage. Georgia Lennon is especially brilliant as Marie Osmond and Charlie Allen and Nicola Bryan give strong performances as the Osmond parents. The young cast portray the boys' desperation to obey and please their father extremely well and are incredibly talented.

As you would expect, it's the music which carries this show, with the big hits Puppy Love, Crazy Horses and Love Me For a Reason providing highlights. The megamix at the end also proved an audience favourite and had pretty much all of the New Victoria Theatre on their feet.

The music and story are clearly very important to a lot of people and obviously seemed to resonate with many of the audience members who are long time fans. However, for anyone new visiting the show, it doesn't quite draw you in and if you don't have the nostalgia for the songs, it is somewhat lacking. If the full house is anything to go by though, there's nothing wrong with that. It seems the musical doesn't need to welcome a new audience of fans but compared to other jukebox musicals, it doesn't do as strong a job of appealing to a wider audience.

That being said, it's certainly a nostalgia fest and a must see for OG Osmond's fans who will enjoy every musical minute.

The Osmonds, A New Musical is at the New Victoria Theatre until 5th March and then continues its tour.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Peter Pan Goes Wrong (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Peter Pan Goes Wrong (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 14th January 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 

The masters of laughter, Mischief Theatre are back at it again with a gut wrenchingly funny touring version of Peter Pan Goes Wrong, which takes everything theatrical and jumbles it into a mess of impassioned, choreographed mayhem.

The Goes Wrong franchise has achieved an astounding amount of success. From a Fringe company, they have taken over the West End, with new productions regularly being released and a series recently beginning on BBC One. Their timeless form of physical comedy, provides excellent entertainment, as well as a celebration of the intricacies of theatre.

Previously televised, this raucous version of Peter Pan, performed by the most bumbling amateur dramatic group ever, is as amusing as ever as it journey's around the UK. It's slapstick of course, but more than that, it is a precisely executed piece of theatre, full of well thought-out characters and exuberant joy. From the pre-show that audience are involved in the mayhem and it's quite excellent how the cast are able to mould us to laugh both at and with them.

During the show, there are missed cues, comedy falls, props malfunctioning, wires crossing and many, many casualties. Mischief Theatre wonderfully balance physical and visual gags, and never cross the line of overdoing their jokes. That's not to say all the gags are highly original, but they're pulled off so seamlessly that this farce is almost comedic perfection.

Tonight's performance was a real testament to understudies, as they really saved the day for the show. Amongst the host of theatrical parodies are Katy Daghorn as Wendy who boastfully struts around the stage and gives a completely stellar performance. Chris, the grandiose director who also plays Hook and Mr Darling, is expertly portrayed by Tom Babbage who bounces back and forth with the audience as he insists the show is not a pantomime. Stepping in as Trevor, Ava Pickett is a complete joy to watch and Christian James' Peter is likeable and dynamic as he dizzily flies around the stage.

This is clearly a physically demanding piece of theatre, which is expertly performed by the entire cast, of which there are zero weak links. A genuinely entertaining show, this is a definite family pleaser and a great night out at the theatre. The company may get everything wrong, but in the end it all seems so right.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 18th January before continuing its tour

photo credit: Alistair Muir

Thursday 18 October 2018

Jersey Boys (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Jersey Boys (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 17th October 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Jersey Boys is one of those musicals that pretty much everyone has heard of, it needs little marketing and has a bit of a cult status after is various runs around the world. For that reason and the fact that the music of the Four Seasons is so well known, the packed New Victoria Theatre is a hub of excitement as people bop in their seats and enjoy this lively, moving musical.

The cast are led by Dayle Hodge (Frankie Valli), Simon Bailey (Tommy DeVito), Lewis Griffiths (Nick Massi) and Declan Egan (Bob Gaudio). Each performer is vocally fabulous individually, but when they come together, they create absolute vocal magic and create a harmonious, chemistry filled team. Hodge is absolutely brilliant as Valli as he performs the classic falsetto sounds with vocal ease and evidently strong technique. Mention must also go to Tara Young who is fiery and vulnerable as Mary Delgado and Mark Heenehan who is extremely versatile and strong in the various roles he plays.

The musical tells the story of how four friends from Jersey united to form one of the most unique and successful music groups of their time. The series of ups and downs, including grief, time in prison and romantic failures, make a great storyline which show the rollercoaster of life in a natural and well constructed way. Alongside the popular music and continuous humour, a strong and enjoyable show has been formed which is sure to continue thrilling audiences.

Musically this production is outstanding. The fast pace of the show means we are dragged through a maelstrom of music which is performed well not only by the leads but supported brilliantly by the ensemble and band led by Francis Goodhand. Alongside smooth set design from Klara Zieglerova and sound design from Steve Canyon Kennedy we are transported not only on the journey of the group, but feel as though we really are at a concert, which brings a lovely energy to the theatre. Jeff Goldstein's costume also bring an authentic touch to the show.

Overall this is a superbly slick production that long time fans and newbies are sure to enjoy. For a night of carefree fun, join the Four Seasons and experience the happiness their music brings.

Jersey Boys runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 27th October before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Singin' in the Rain (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Singing in the Rain 
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 29th March 2022 

It's been 10 years since Jonathan Church's stage version of Singin' in the Rain was brought to life at the Chichester Festival theatre, showering the front rows during the title number and delighting audiences with its sheer spectacle. The show is a fast-footed feast which is full of charm and keeps its wow factor after all these years.

This UK tour which opened with a run at Sadler's Wells closely mirrors the original film in which Gene Kelly created some iconic moments, including his joyful tap dancing through puddles. This scene and many others are performed brilliantly by Adam Cooper as the lead Don Lockwood. A former Royal Ballet dancer, Adam has been with the show since the start and is enthralling in the role of the silent movie star making the transition to 'talkies'.

His famous counterpart, Lina Lamont (played hilariously by Faye Tozer) doesn't make the move quite so seamlessly, with her poor singing voice and harsh, shrill speaking voice not quite delighting audiences. So, at the suggestion of Cosmo Brown, Don's real life love interest Kathy Selden is drafted in to dub the voice and vocals.

Alastair Crosswell plays the highly energetic Cosmo Brown in the most engaging and entertaining way. His incredibly hard working performance provides great slapstick moments alongside stellar dancing. As Kathy Selden, Charlotte Gooch is a sleek, stunning, star. Her magnetic aura is a delight to watch and she never falters for even a second.

What's so impressive about this touring production is the sheer scale of it. It's amazing how such a detailed and technical show can go on such a quick turnaround tour- major props to all the backstage team! Simon Higlett's set is brimming with art deco features and feels like it goes on far beyond the stage of the New Victoria Theatre; and the costumes are utter treats.

This is a complete spectacle of a show that feels sleek and refreshed. Comedic moments including the re-creations of stilted silent films contrast beautifully with Andrew Wright's larger than life choreography which floats and fills the stage with the elegance you dream of. This is a decadent production that really stands the test of time and provides a treat for all the senses.

Singing in the Rain plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 2nd April and then continues its tour

Monday 14 February 2022

Waitress (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Waitress (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 14th February 2022

The dish of the day at the New Victoria Theatre this Valentines day is Waitress the Musical which follows Jenna Hunterson (Chelsea Halfpenny) an aspiring baker who wants nothing more than to escape her life and unhappy marriage. With the help of her colleagues and new gynaecologist, her dreams start to become possible as she bakes herself a new life. It's a heartwarming tale of romantic and platonic love, that is a sweet treat indeed.

Based on the film of the same name written by Adrienne Shelly, the stage version adds the extra ingredient of Sara Bareilles' score. Memorable, folky songs are a joy to watch and feature a number of gorgeous motifs which appear throughout. There is a great mixture of humourous numbers, as well as more emotional, reflective ones. The book by Jessie Nelson is dotted with wit and whimsy but occasionally feels a little underdeveloped with some moral ambiguity that is never resolved.

As leading lady, Chelsea Halfpenny is an utter delight in the role of Jenna. Vocally she is faultless and gives a beautifully nuanced performance full of charm and warmth. Her comedic timing is wonderful and she also brings Jenna's vulnerable side to life truthfully. 

As her friends, Becky and Dawn, Sandra Marvin and Evelyn Hoskins are marvellous. Evelyn is completely adorable as Dawn, bringing the house down with her laughs and her completely frenetic performance that oozes humour. As her partner in crime, Ogie, George Crawford is completely stellar. His comedy chops completely shine and are matched by his great vocals.

As Dr Pomatter, Jenna's gynaecologist and love interest, Nathanael Landskroner is brilliantly bumbling. His chemistry with Chelsea is glorious to watch and he also matches her perfectly in terms of vocals and they really complement one another. The ensemble also work together like a well-oiled machine.

Just like the ensemble, Scott Pask's set and Lorin Latarro's fine-tuned choreography work seamlessly together. They are not only incredibly in sync with the whole show but are also greatly reflective of the story and emotions; with the set literally coming to life and expanding as Jenna finds herself. 

Waitress is an intimate show which transfers wonderfully for touring venues. Despite its faults, it's almost baked to perfection. Excellent performances and major whimsy make it a stagey slice of sweetness that's well worth seeing. 

Waitress plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 19th February 2022 and then continues its tour

photo credit: Johan Persson

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 27th February 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

The New Victoria theatre was a buzz last night as an excited audience took their seats to take a trip down memory lane with the sentimental songs of the 60s. I must admit when I sat down I wasn't really a Carole King fan having never really been exposed to her music, but two and a bit hours later I was well and truly a lover of all things Carole and have been playing Tapestry on repeat all morning. 

Beautiful opens with King (played expertly by Bronté Barbé) sitting alone on stage behind a piano and singing her heart out to a packed audience at Carnegie Hall. Suddenly the piano moves out of view and we are thrown into a Brooklyn apartment where a 16 year old Carole with big dreams and songs to sell arrives on stage.

From here we follow Carole through the ups and downs of her life from the energetic teen to mother, wife, divorcee and Grammy award winner. From the opening scene to the very end, Bronté's Carole is endearing, humourous and engaged with the audience. Her incredible voice, acting and spot on accent hold the show up and our hearts really ache whenever Carole experiences a set back.

The show mainly focuses on the relationship between Carole and her husband/lyricist, Gerry Goffin. Played by Kane Oliver Parry, the character is raw and passionate and the chemistry between the pair is compelling to watch. Alongside we see their best friends and writing rivals, Cynthia Weil (Amy Ellen Richardson) and Barry Mann (Matthew Gonsalves) who are comedic as well as being fantastic singers. The rendition of their hit 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling' was a standout as well as a clear audience favourite.

Beautiful cleverly transitions from the song-writing to the actual performance with the artists appearing to perform the songs as soon as the final chords and lyrics were written. These moments were humourous as well as being genuinely good and allowed the audience to revel in the delightful music by the likes of The Drifters and The Shirelles.

This production is indeed Beautiful and the perfectly moving, magical, sentimental way to spend a few hours. Myself, my mum and those around us found ourselves smiling throughout, just proving that this show has what it takes to enrapture audiences of all generations.  The talent of Carole King is undeniable and I can't help but think that no 2000s artist will stand the test of time to have a musical made about them in the future! Whether you think you're a fan of Carole or not, you're sure to recognise many of the hits and leave feeling elated, with a new sense of love and appreciation for the songwriting industry.

Beautiful runs at the New Victoria Theatre until March 3rd before continuing it's tour.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 19th April 2022 by Angie Creagh-Brown

The Nutcracker Suite is an old and much beloved family Christmas favourite. Matthew Bourne's version, however is a somewhat different take on the classic.

What can I say about it? Well it was just wonderful!!! The New Victoria Theatre is a large, modern and inviting building, which at this performance welcomed an audience of all ages; there were some young children (well-behaved) and the ambience was happy and inviting, a taste of the sweet treat evening to come.

Bourne takes the original story of a well to do family celebrating Christmas Eve with friends and family and turns it completely round; his version starts in an orphanage, the cast are dressed in grey, the scenery is grey - no light, no joy. The teenage children are preparing to 'enjoy' their meagre Christmas Eve and are joined by the owner, Dr Dross, danced by Danny Reubens, his wife the Matron, Daisy May Kemp, son Fritz, Dominic North and their very spoilt daughter Sugar, Ashley Shaw.

The children manage to find a Nutcracker, which had been locked away in a cupboard, and they escape to a wondrous scene of falling snow, ice-skating and snowballs. To add to their excitement the Nutcracker miraculously changes from a toy to a handsome, well-muscled and talented young man, (Harrison Dowzellto the delight of the children and the leading lady.

The ensemble dancing was lovely, there were comic moments, surprises and hints of jealousies to come. The dancers were performing with large smiles on their faces, which in turn put joy onto the faces of the audience.

Act Two opens with a kaleidoscope of colour which is The Road to Sweetieland. Clara, beautifully danced by Cordelia Braithwaite, is desperately trying to gain entrance to Sweetieland aided by the The Cupids, wonderfully portrayed by Enrique Ngbokota and Shoko Ito. She is still dressed in her undergarments and they find a pretty dress for her, but it does not compare in any way to that worn by her nemesis, Sugar.

There is a lot of humour in this act. Superbly bright costumes and a plethora of well-known sweets dancing wonderfully. It's a visual treat like no other.

The cast is very diverse, which would mirror the children in an orphanage. The story has been re-written in a modern way. This means it would possibly not be suitable for very young children on whom the innuendoes would be lost, but in terms of aesthetics it's sure to appeal to all ages.

The staging, set design, lighting and costumes all added wonderfully to the most enjoyable evening which finished with a standing ovation and joy abounded both on the stage and in the auditorium.

The Nutcracker plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 23rd April

photo credit: Johan Persson

Wednesday 27 September 2017

The Addams Family (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 26th September 2017 by Valerie Field

The spooky, kooky classic, The Addams Family has made its way to the New Victoria theatre, Woking in its spectacular UK tour.

The Addams Family first become known to the public in the 1960’s as a TV show, they then made their way to the big screen in 1991 and on finally to Broadway in 2010. This production is the first ever professional one in the UK and has received brilliant reviews since it opened.

The story is about the very weird and spooky family whose daughter, Wednesday falls in love with a ‘normal’ boy. This causes many problems and some hilarious situations and she tries to tell her overprotective family and discovers that no one is really as normal as they seem. 

The energy was up right from the get go of the show. During the iconic opening theme tune music, the entire audience joined in with the signature clicks which was very funny and set the night off on a fantastic foot.

Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday Addams and Cameron Blakely as Gomez were the stand out performances for me, with fantastic acting and singing from both. Cameron was suitably wacky and humourous whilst Carrie was suitably moody and full of love.

Samantha Womack looked great, but I felt that she didn't have the presence you would have expected from her character of Morticia. Whilst she looks the role and embodies the character well, she was a little underwhelming at times and could have played the character up a little more.

Les Dennis was unable to perform as Fester but his understudy, Scott Paige did very well as the man who’s in love with the moon. Dickon Gough' was the biggest surprise as Lurch. When he burst into song at the end, the whole audience were shocked at his fantastic voice.

All the scenery, stage sets and special effects were brilliant and all in all it was a very entertaining and enjoyable show. I would have liked it to be a little more spooky but its definitely worth a visit before the tour ends.

The Addams Family is at the New Victoria Theatre until September 30th before continuing its tour.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Evita (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Evita (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th July 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Classic musical, Evita has been thrilling audiences in the UK and around the world since it opened in 1978, winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical. Multiple re-incarnations have allowed various portrayals of the iconic characters and different takes on the tale of Eva Perón. Despite not having a huge amount to compare to, having only seen the 1996 movie and 2006 West End production, I don't hesitate saying that this current tour helmed by Lucy O'Byrne, Glenn Carter and Mike Sterling has created an almost perfect production and showcases the music and story of Evita wonderfully.

Not only was tonight Evita's opening night at the New Victoria Theatre but was also the opening night for the three leads who each do an outstanding job. Mike Sterling commands the role of Juan Perón with power and fight whilst also showing off a softer side with his wife. He is vocally wonderful and complements Lucy's voice well. As Che (in some productions based on Che Guevara, and others as working class Everyman base of Peronism) Glenn Carter is versatile. A strong voice and all-knowing-rock-god-vibe means he brings a unique but perfectly suitable strength to the role.

As the leading lady, Lucy O'Byrne grows and blazes as Eva Perón. Starting out as a 16 year old who knows what she wants to a dying politicians wife, O'Byrne's transition is breathtaking to watch. Stand out moments include Rainbow High and You Must Love Me which show the drastic differences between Eva's character. Lucy performs the role with passion and drive whilst maintaining brief innocent moments. Her vocals grow as the character does and her stellar diction means we don't miss a word of the fast-paced passages.

Bill Dreamer's choreography brings to life the world of Argentina and cleverly moves us from one moment of action to another, whilst, Matthew Wright's sets and costumes create a vibrant world which draws you in from the opening. The fairly simplistic sets echo the world of the Perón's and at times provide a stark contrast to the glamour of Eva. 

It's hard to pick fault with such a strong production but one thing in particular strikes me as odd: the decision to give the entire cast English accents. This doesn't take away from the performances at all but feels like a bit of a cop out, and makes us forget the show is set in Argentina at times. 

However, overall this production is well thought out and does a brilliant job of bringing Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's music and lyrics to life once more. This show is not glitz and glam happiness, but it is a raw and moving story which should certainly be seen. Stellar music is brought to life by a magnificent cast who make Evita a must see!

Evita runs at the New Victoria Theatre until July 21st before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Keith pattison

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Tour), New Victoria Theatre Theatre | Review

Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 15th March 2022

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is fast becoming a staple piece of theatre in the UK and indeed across the world. Having had various iterations in many countries including Japan and Italy, as well as the hit film which was released last year; the musical retains its Britishness, strong heart and morals and continues to be an inspiring and entertaining experience.

Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae's show tells the story of an extroverted 15 year old who dreams of being a drag queen. Despite being sure of himself and his abilities, young Jamie New faces a number of hurdles and people who try to dull his sparkle. So, he works to overcome these and to show the close-minded people around him that being true to yourself can get you far. It's a show which delights and inspires in equal measure, and is sure to keep its spot in theatre lover's hearts for a long time.

As the title character, Layton Williams is a treat to watch. He brings Jamie to life truthfully and so glamourously. From the opening of 'And You Don't Even Know It', Layton completely owns the character and shows us the light and shade enveloped in it. At times his vocals get lost but he makes up for this with his incredible wit and larger than life personality that soars on stage.

Playing Jamie's kind and strong mum is Amy Ellen Richardson who's vocal performance is outstanding. 'He's My Boy' is an absolute highlight of the show and her vulnerable performance is incredibly moving. Her chemistry with Layton is great and she also works incredibly well with her best friend Ray (played brilliantly at this performance by Lisa-Marie Holmes).

Another lovely friendship is that of Jamie and Pritti. The pair are both misunderstood and confined in their own ways and it's so sweet to see them discuss this and to support each other without any toxicity. Sharan Phull is endearing and moving as Pritti, especially in her solo moments and fantastic monologue at the end of the show.

Shane Richie as Hugo/Loco Chanelle is fantastically entertaining, giving a really strong vocal performance and also showcasing fabulous comedic timing. Other stand out performances come from George Samson as Dean Paxton and Gary Lee in various roles including Laika Virgin at this performance.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a musical which inspires us all to own what makes us 'different' and is a really heartwarming portrayal of family, friendship and acceptance. It's contemporary and over the top and so much fun. Let's talk about Jamie a bit longer! Go see the show on tour!

Everybody's Talking About Jamie plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 19th March 2022 and then continues its tour

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Flashdance (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Flashdance (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 19th February 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

If you want some ab-inspiration then Flashdance is the show for you. I saw the show in Wimbledon back in October and wasn't the biggest fan, however, knowing what to expect I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone seems a lot more settled into their roles and there was much more of a flow throughout. 

Flashdance centres around the story of Alex, a welder who dreams of being a dancer and attending the distinguished Shipley Academy. On her journey she meets a dapper love interest who also happens to be the boss' son. Aside from this there are some other side plots such as Jimmy who wants to make it big as a comedian, his girlfriend Gloria being pulled into a seedy drug filled world at a rival club and the imminent job cuts for all the apprentices. With regards to these I feel the same as previously that they're not really explored enough to be of that much importance but I totally get that they have to be in there to pad out the show.

But Flashdance is all about the classic, big money numbers which are delivered with spades of energy and commitment. Hits such as 'Gloria', 'What A Feeling' and 'Manic' are instantly recognisable and work brilliantly to hype the audience up and draw them into the Flashdance world.

A lot of the other songs are a little unmemorable but they vigour they are performed with makes up for it. Joanne Clifton is exceptional as Alex. From Strictly fame she's of course known for her dance but seeing her on stage performing Matt Cole's choreography is extra special. She's magnetic and draws you in even when performing a group number. Her vocals are strong although at times I found her diction lacking but she is certainly cut out for the role and I can see why she has abs of steel from being that full out every night! As her rich-boy boyfriend, Ben Adams is equally as strong. Whilst his pop vocals are not commonplace in the musical theatre world, they are strong and fit with the character. The pair have a lovely chemistry and really draw you into the story.

I have to mention Colin Kiyani as Jimmy who again gave me Ben Platt vibrato vibes and Hollie-Ann Lowe who was versatile and vulnerable as his girlfriend, Gloria. Again, the two have a sweet chemistry. Sasha Latoya is vocally breathtaking and equally humourous whilst Sia Dauda and Demmileigh Foster (who is literally Victoria Hamilton-Barritt reincarnated) were full out in their high octane numbers as Kiki and Tess.

There were a few technical issues such as mics being too quiet and the irony wasn't missed when one of the girls' top wouldn't stay done up when singing about keeping her clothes on! Totally no ones fault though and a very small detail in a big production. I'm also not a big fan of megamixes at the end of shows but there's no denying that it got everyone up on their feet and in a good mood as they left the theatre. 

Flashdance isn't the most astounding piece of theatre but it's high energy from start to finish with some memorable songs that'll definitely get stuck in your head. For a fun night out that'll leave you smiling and in my case, dancing round the house, then be sure to pay a visit to this 80s classic on stage.

Flashdance runs at the New Victoria Theatre until February 24th before continuing it's UK Tour.

Thursday 2 August 2018

War Horse (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

War Horse (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 1st August 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Since its premiere at the National Theatre in 2007, War Horse has been enthralling audiences around the world and after seeing it, it's clear why. The play follows the deeply moving story of the relationship between a young boy, Albert Narracott, played brilliantly by Thomas Dennis, and his adored horse, Joey.

Whilst this story begins as an unflinching quest for a boy to find his horse after it has been taken as part of the World War One front, it quickly becomes a story of how horses were sacrificed on mass at the battle lines. For the men of the army, the horses lives symbolise their own and its especially affecting to see how the men measure their lives by their horses.

The reality of war is brought to life with dramatic simplicity, with sound effects and bright lights hitting us with an intensity that transports us to the battlefield. This production is alarmingly powerful and honest.

Also brought to life are the friendships of life and war. Particularly moving is a scene where the two opposing sides make peace as the unite to free Joey from barbed wire in the midst of war. The friendship between Emilie (Joëlle Brabban) and Friedrich Müller (Peter Becker) is equally touching, especially as we see the way the war really effects Müller and takes it's toll on his mental health.

The stars of the show however, have to be the impeccable puppet and Handspring Puppet Company who bring them to life. The puppets become real and it's hard to believe there are puppeteers controlling them, even when they are in full view on stage. The breathing, galloping and entire personalities come to life and we are immersed in this stunning production.

Everything about War Horse screams National Theatre and this tour does a stellar job of making us feel as though we are in the Olivier Theatre. Although vastly complex, the whole show comes off looking and feeling simplistic and effortless. Whilst moving and poignant, this production all in all is beautiful. Providing a reminder of the sacrifices those before us have made and highlighting the futility of war, this is a must see for people of all ages.

War Horse runs at the New Victoria Theatre until August 18th before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Brinkhoff and Mögenburg

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 22nd January 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

The recent trend in my life seems to be watching things about the golden age of Hollywood and actresses who can't face the loss of fame. If you watched Ryan Murphy's recent television series, Feud, you'll notice the strong similarities between the life of fictional Norma Desmond and film royalty Joan Crawford. Both women were stars of the silent film era and the embodiment of Hollywood glamour, however as they grew older and their fame and fans disappear, they fall into a draining game of always trying to appear young and live as though their glory days aren't over. 

In Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of Billy Wilder's 1951 film, Sunset Boulevard, we meet a reclusive Norma who's in a dark phase of her life as she's trying to get back into the film world. Enter Joe Gillis the struggling screenwriter desperate to get his lucky break who somehow ends up in Norma's sprawling mansion. 

Dreaming of making her comeback, Norma recruits Joe to edit and finish her screenplay. However, their relationship slowly spirals into it's own film of drama and tension as Norma becomes obsessive and possessive over Joe- threatening suicide if he leaves.

The staging is slick and perfectly evocative of the 40s/50s, helped hugely by Douglas O'Connell's spectacular video and projections which not only add to each scene and song but make the whole thing cinematic and help to blur the line between reality and film which Norma struggles to deal with.

The show, like it's characters, is full of melodrama and power. Ria Jones takes on the role of the narcissistic, fading Norma Desmond with masterful skill. Her performance is truly remarkable and she embodies the role with every fibre of her being. Commanding the stage and audience with her every word and whacking Andrew Lloyd Webber's huge numbers out of the park. Jones puts in everything the has to earn her extensive standing ovation at the end.

As the handsome, aspiring screenwriter Joe, Dougie Carter is outstanding and versatile. From fairly innocent at the start to dark and tortured. He is absolutely faultless, with his rendition of Sunset Boulevard gripping the audience at the start of Act 2 along with is sharp, engaging chemistry with Ria Jones.

Special mention must go to Adam Pearce who deftly plays the Phantom-esque role of Max Von Myerling and superbly balances his endearing and chilling sides whilst delivering some top class vocals that almost steal the show.

This production is a musical theatre masterclass that perfectly charts a story of obsession, drama, age and lust. It's a must see for any musical theatre fan, with Ria Jones' performance worth the ticket price alone.

Sunset Boulevard runs at the New Victoria theatre until January 27th before continuing it's tour.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

The Rat Pack- Live From Las Vegas (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

The Rat Pack- Live From Las Vegas (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th April 2018 by Valerie Field

The Rat Pack Live opens with Garrett Phillips who plays Sinatra introducing himself and the show and trying to get the audience participation go. Unfortunately this didn't quite work out as the theatre was very under-booked. 

Once this initial opening was over and the show got going everyone enjoyed his performance. He has a great voice and even the look of Frank Sinatra. In fact if you closed your eyes it could have been him. Philips really knows how to channel the musical master.

Nigel Casey also has a good voice but unfortunately doesn't come across as relaxed and cool as his character Dean Martin. There was a change of actor at the last minute for Sammy Davis Jr. He was played by last night by Darren Charles who I must say was a very good entertainer but didn't quite come across as his character.

Part way through the show we are introduced to the Burelli Sisters played by Laura Darton, Amelia Adams-Pearce and Joanna Walters. This brings glamour and a bit of pizzazz to the show as their performances are very, very good. 

The late appearance of Nicola Emmanuel as Ella Fitzgerald really lifts the show as she is fantastic- it's a shame she is not utilised more in the show.

The orchestra are great and all the music and songs are brilliantly and energetically performed. Unfortunately for the cast the theatre was fairly empty but the audience who were there were very appreciative and gave them a standing ovation after the rousing rendition of  My Way.

Anyone who is Sinatra fan will enjoy the show. The music is nostalgic, well performed and provides fantastic entertainment. The Rat Pack- Live From Las Vegas is well worth a visit and I had a very enjoyable evening.

The Rat Pack- Live at Las Vegas runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 21st April before continuing it's tour.